In this post here, I elucidated a concept I dubbed “The Cliff,” and the basic idea was this: women see great distinctions based on differences in male behavior that, to men, appear to be very subtle or even meaningless.
In other words, a woman’s opinion of a man can swing wildly based on very small factors. Nothing new about that.
On several occasions, Athol Kay has discussed leveraging preselection and sometimes overtly letting your woman know that a younger, hotter woman has made eyes at you – bringing into stark relief the threat that if you were to split up, you’d have no trouble finding a new mate.
The topic has come up again and again in this corner of the net, to endless consternation. Most of the women discussing it alternate between two forms of argument. One is a moral argument based on emotional pain: “my boyfriend/husband/dad hit on other women and it always made me really upset.”
The other is the “pink whip,” arguing that flirting with other women will cause your current woman to lose interest in you.
My point here is not to debate morality. It is to note that these discussions are always laced with an instance of The Cliff. Women consistently note that they are offended when their man hits on another woman – only to turn around and say they are proud and attracted when another woman hits on him.
The trouble here, from a man’s perspective, is that every flirtation is a two-way street. Somebody initiates, then the other person escalates, and on and on it goes. The idea of trying to determine whether he’s flirting with her or she’s flirting with him is a fool’s errand. Only in cases of a cold approach can a real judgment be made, and with women exhibiting the more indirect style of sexual pursuit, if a man’s gal has it in her head that he initiated the set with the third party, it’s going to be all but impossible to convince her otherwise no matter what the actual truth is.
So while I advise men not to approach or open women when they are out with a paramour (who by being out with you has earned at least a bit of standing as your squeeze for the night), The Cliff means that you’ll often be held to account for an encounter that’s primarily carried by the woman. (There’s an example of Vox Day’s “carte blanche” imperative – if you’re going to get crap for it either way, might as well choose the route most beneficial to you.)
Whenever I’ve seen this mentioned to women, it’s been waved off with the “real men don’t need game” explanation: “real naturals don’t have to flirt – the women come to them, because their very BEING is so attractive.” And so it’s OK for these guys to be surrounded by a brood of women, because it’s somehow not their fault.
But we guys who have studied game and practiced it understand that this explanation is almost an entirely false distinction – men are not just dropped into social environments like sculptures and immediately surrounded by adoring women. Men who are approached by women are exhibiting attractive traits, dozens of verbal, physical and behavioral cues that trip women’s body agendas into wanting to escalate the conversation. Men who are naturals are often themselves unaware what these cues are, and can hide behind a veil of ignorance and insist they aren’t doing anything to bring these women around.
Just to use a straightforward example that doesn’t even involve any conversation: it’s well-understood that getting in better physical shape will raise a man’s attraction value and might cause women to approach him without any apparent tactical effort on his part. In other words, his being is attractive ipso facto. However, to leverage this value, a man has to dress and carry himself in a way that shows off his fitness. So he’s still taking an active part in displaying his value to the world, even if it appears that he’s not making any special effort at the moment the woman approaches him. So the very idea that makes The Cliff exegesis possible, that the guy is just so attractive that he’s attracting attention without doing anything, is fallacious.
I hold men and women to the same standard here. If you’re constantly being approached by the opposite sex, you are attracting that attention in some overt way, whether it be your dress, your posture, your social demeanor or the places you hang out. You are accountable for that – it may not be entirely conscious on your part, but don’t try to tell me you don’t know it’s there.
I understand why women want to draw this distinction – a man who is approached by flirty women has immense preselection value, while a man approaching women raises the paradox that nothing is less attractive than a man trying to be attractive. It’s another strain of “it just happened,” the framing of sexual marketplace events as completely spontaneous. But as we guys know, it never “just happens” – when “it just happens,” the man has normally done a dual job of flirting, escalating and seducing a good opportunity while at the same time covering his tracks with little breadcrumbs of plausible deniability.
So women have a lot of investment in framing who’s actually doing the flirting. But to guys, trying to figure out “who started it” is an almost meaningless conundrum. Besides, putting on blinders to the attentions of women around you is liable to get you tagged by the woman you’re with as clueless and socially awkward, or unable to own your virile masculinity.